David McHugh

May 16, 1934 ~ October 8, 2020 (age 86)


David Charles McHugh, beloved husband of Shirley Rae McHugh, passed away at St. Joseph’s hospital on October 8, 2020 at age 86. 


Dave was known for his generosity, humor and loyalty. He made many friends along the way by calling up, showing up, and always making himself available to help. He was a man of many talents, and a source of wisdom, knowledge and friendship to many people. 


Born May 16, 1934 in Tacoma, WA he was the son of  Elida Depew Glidden and Walter Stanley McHugh. Dave attended St. Patrick’s Grade School, Fox Island Grade School, and graduated from Bellarmine Preparatory high school in 1951. While living in Tacoma, they lived on South ‘J’ Street where Dave and his siblings enjoyed Wright Park as their backyard. Here, Dave also had fond memories of his mother running a boarding house where the early seeds of hospitality and generosity were planted in young Dave.  In 1943, their father, Walter, purchased property on Fox Island, the old Dreazy Farm, and the family moved from Tacoma. The four McHugh kids helped maintain the farm and also built the tennis court and pool that family and friends enjoyed for decades to come. At the time, the Fox Island Bridge had not been built, so they would catch a ride or walk to the other side of the island to take the ferry to Tacoma for high school. After high school, Dave followed his siblings to Gonzaga University graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 1955.  At Gonzaga, he participated in ROTC and after school spent time serving in the US Army as a radio operator. 


As fate would have it, Dave was introduced to the beautiful Shirley Rae Uphus at a Kennedy election party held by their mutual friends in Seattle, and in December of 1963 they married at St. Patrick’s Church. Dave worked as an independent contractor specializing in steel erection and also in the family business; Cooney-McHugh Construction. Projects include multiple bridges in Montana, Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Dave and Shirley raised their family in Old Town Tacoma, close to St. Patrick school and church where he dedicated much of his talent and skill to the community. He continued his service at Bellarmine Prep participating in many fundraising events and as Booster Club President. Dave was in his element putting on fun events and supporting the school. During this time, Shirley and Dave owned and operated another family business, Westgate Nutrition Center, with a satellite store at the B&I. After retiring, Dave and Shirley moved from Tacoma out to Fox Island where they opened their home up to everyone for weddings, funerals, potlucks, anniversaries, birthdays, 4th of July parties, winemaking parties, Tacoma Rugby events and Girl Scout events. Everyone was offered one of his bean dish creations, a drink and a few chores to work on. The more the merrier.  


Dave is survived by his three loving children, Maureen Ann McHugh, Megan McHugh Boly and her husband Jeff, and Ryan Evan McHugh all of Tacoma, WA; siblings Walter “Buster” McHugh and Colleen Koval; grandchildren Alex and husband Adam, Deven, Sam and Emma Ropes, Bridget and Quinn Boly; and countless loving nieces and nephews from the McHugh, Costello, Signs, Paske, Uphus and Davies families. He was preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Elida, his sister Marjorie Paske, and brothers William Signs and John McHugh.


A Funeral Mass and blessing will be held at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Tacoma, WA. A Burial Ceremony will be held at the Fox Island Cemetery on Saturday, October 17, 2020.


In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Dave’s memory to the Tacoma Rugby Club or Fox Island Historical Museum

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